NEWS FROM FEBRUARY 2012
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4th.
We have been here a few days now and are finding that firstly the weather is very nice during the day with temperatures reaching 16 to 20 degrees so it is nice to get the bikes out and cycle along the promenade of this resort. Secondly the site is quite comfortable with the facilities all quite adequate
Smudge is settled also but missing her regular mouse hunting nights but we have said that she seems content enough because she is with us and has all the regular comforts of home, apart from one, a cat flap and the freedom this gives her.
On Wednesday there was a market nearby and we took a look around there. Stuff was very cheap but the quality needed careful watching, despite the fancy labels, so they did not get much money from us, apart that is from a couple of very large freshly cooked doughnuts, which Joan found to be very hot.
We have found that most people have nailed down some of that garden netting stuff over the sand area of their pitch, keeps the van a bit cleaner. Having asked our neighbours, John and Maggie, about the shops in town we set off to look for the local ironmongers. There we managed to buy eight meters of the stuff for 1.20 euros the meter. It works and keeps the sand down.
We have been told that in the summer months this beach area is just covered with umbrellas and sun beds. Ugh!
Today, Saturday, we have decided to go out for something to eat and having enquired from the regulars about the good restaurants have decided to select Dallas, where we are told they do a superb lamb dish with all the trimmings, a bit like our favourite Turkish Kleftiko.
This morning we walked around the town, as it had gone very windy overnight and quite cold, but we found, on our way back others from our site, sitting having coffee at a beach bar were they were settled from the wind. Very pleasant.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5th.
Well the Dallas Restaurant was not very succesful. the lamb was very tasty but served up on a not too warm salver and with some only just warm plates to go with it, we found ourselves eating a quite cold dinner in a short period of time. The restaurant itself was not heated so we began to get cold feet and legs. We decided to have a desert course afterwards and this came out of pre-prepared cooler so was acceptable. then came the coffee, must be some of the most unpleasant coffee I have ever drunk. Good job we had chosen a nice red wine, which was very enjoyable. The whole came to 47.50 euros so we felt that this was quite epensive for indifferent food.
On our way home last night we discovered that the temperature had plumeted to -2 degrees. Maybe this was why the lamb was cold.............
Today turned out quite pleasant, but very windy, so we decided to go for a walk along this immensely long beach. The whole coastline around here is quite beautiful with in many places some lagoons set back from the sandy beach areas, which are full off a great variety of birdlife.
The cliffs are quite sheer in some places and very red. We also found this very nice looking golf course, with not a single soul playing on it and this on a Sunday morning.
We had in fact walked about 8 or 9 miles in total and this on quite soft sand, so guess the legs will be stiff tomorrow. When we got back to our area we went in to the Fantasia Beach Bar, which is owned by a Dutch couple and from what we have been hearing, is the place we should have gone to eat last night. Well somewhere to try later.
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8th.
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 9th.
We collected our car this morning, a three year old Seat Ibiza, which seems to be running well. Apparently the owner of this company just wants his vehicles out on the road, especially in the low season, hence the price.
We went west of here to Albuferia to see what this place was really like. Lovely beach area with lots of small restaurants across the sea front and guys touting for business.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10th.
This year we learnt that they always come down to Albuferia, from December to end March and stay in the same rented apartment. We had called them yesterday and arranged to meet outside a well known supermarket at 11 o’clock.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 11th.
The above pics show you the small bay that is Carvoerio and some of the rocky coast around. There are spots were you see, what I suppose you could only call sink holes, carved out by the sea.
We had an unpleasant experience on the way back to Quarteria, a flat tyre warning as we approached a roundabout. We were lucky that the junction off was into an Aldi car park. There was a good unused spare in the boot, so whilst Joan called the hire company I set to, to change the wheel. I was amazed to see that when I got the flat off, the inside tread was completely worn away, down to the wires showing through, then when I looked at the other side, found this to be the same. Clearly the tracking on this car was very badly out, but now the car was dangerous, so another call to the company established that they were open Sunday and providing we got back home they would sort something in the morning.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 12th.
MONDAY FEBRUARY 13th.
The above pics show you some of the area but you really need to see it to really appreciate. Take a look at the local guys fishing pitch.
WEDNESDAY 15th FEBRUARY.
The weather is getting even better here, still some wind around but almost guaranteed sunshine for largest part of the day. This coming weekend is Carnival weekend in this town so we are staying put to see that and to get we hope some good pics.
Today we went down to the weekly market and bought 10 DVDs for only 15 euros, don't ask if they are legal or not but the guy was doing a roaring trade. We have given them all just a brief try and all but one seem to work so that is giving us some entertainment on the chilly evenings.
THURSDAY 16th FEBRUARY.
Nice afternoon so got the BBQ out around 3 o'clock for an early dinner.
Came up to the internet zone later and received a photo from Barbara in Eymet which showed us a fairly deep level of snow and that is only 15 minutes from our French home, so guess we will not be rushing back just yet.
SATURDAY 18th FEBRUARY.
SUNDAY 19th FEBRUARY.
We then paid 2 euros each to attend the carnival parade. This was quite an event and I have posted a whole series of pics for you to see. Many of the floats were taking the “p” out of Euro MPs, if you look carefully you can see Angela Merkel sitting next to the Portuguese prime Minister in the blue truck. Most interesting for us guys were the Brazilian Style dancers in next to nothing. If you look at the girl in nothing but body paint in the centre top of one float you might even see the goose pimples.
Guess who managed to get in on the act by finding a little pony that wanted it's nose stroking ?
TUESDAY 21st FRBRUARY.
We had earlier said that we were staying here until the Carnival weekend was over. Well today ius the final day and we went to see the local Quarteria event. Have to say that iut is not a patch on the event we went to on Sunday, but here are half a dozen pics to show that it aactually happened.
Suppose this just goes to prove that there are lots of pretty young girls here as well as a very old Volkswagen Beetle.
WEDNESDAY 22nd FEBRUARY.
Well last night proved one thing, we were probaably wrong to let Smudge have her freedom because she was out for at least 2 hours and then came back in around 10.30, just a nice time to go to bed. Smudge decided at 1 a.m.. and again at 3.30 and then at 4.30 that she should be out. her efforts to get the door open has actually damaged the rubber seal, so that will have to be fixed when we get home and I had to invent a baricade in the middle of the night. End result for us was a very unsettled night.
This morning on the way to the market, to exchange the two diodgy DVDs, we were asked to go to a general BBQ in our area of the site on Saturday afternoon. The excuse is it was somebodys birthday this week. So OK, lets stay a few more days and move on Sunday, seems like a good idea to us.
THURSDAY 23rd FEBRUARY.
We have changed our minds and decided to move on from here Yesterday there were a couple of trails of processionary caterpillars around, these drop out of the fir trees and are dangerous to animals. Smudge came in rubbing her face and frantically washing her paws so we had to grab her and wash her all over with cold water. She seems OK this morning, but the decision is made to move away now.
FRIDAY 24th FEBRUARY.
By the time we had packed all our stuff into the camper and paid our dues, said goodbye to all the people we had met around us, it was 11.30 but we were only moving about 2 hours up the N125 westwards.
We had been told about a campsite at Alvor which is just up the coast from Lagos. We were made very welcome here and find that the costs, including a 10 amp electric hook up, full WiFi around the site, where only 11.40 euros per day in the winter season. We have booked in for a whole week and have a nice sunny spot, pictures will follow tomorrow.
SATURDAY 25th FEBRUARY
When we arrived on site we discovered that non of the pitches were very level and that we needed some lifting ramps.Jimmy, the site foreman, did his best to make some but to no avail. We then discovered that there was a caravan service company, but all the way back in Loule, were we had just conme from. A phone call with a very helpful guy in their offices revealed that they would be unable to deliver earlier than Tuesday next, so there seemed to be only one solution, drive back to Loule, maybe in a hire car. Five minutes later the helpful guy called back and said that they had delivered a set to a campsite near Lagos and that these were not needed but would be available at reception until 6 o'clock..
Jimmy offered to drive me over and in just over half an hour and for only 30 euros the problem was solved.
For any campers interested the website for this place is http://www.campingalvor.com/ I have to say that this place comes highly reccomended by us, good price and very friendly, helpful people.
SUNDAY 26th FEBRUARY.
After a night sleeping on the level, because the previous night I almost fell out of bed, we awoke to a liesurely breakfast in the sun.
After this we took a walk down in to the town to see what it was like. Really lovely, nice beach area and a super harbour. We also found ourselves a nice restaurant on the marina area for a liesurely Sunday lunch. A very good way to start our week here.
Grilled sardines and wine go down well when sitting in the sun.
MONDAY 27th FEBRUARY.
The sun continues to shine so we cycled to the beach which is furthest away from Alvor, many hills on the way so lots of excercise today.
We started with a nice Latte Coffee at a beach cafe and then walked for a few miles along the beach.
Just as with most of the Algarve the rocks around the beaches are quite stunning to see, but it should be noted that there are warning signs everywhere about rock falls.
WEDNESDAY 29th FEBRUARY.
We had taken a gamble on the weather continueing to be kind and had booked a boat trip to take us along the coast to Lagos and on to the sea caves.
Our boat man was a guy called Antonio and he reckoned we were just lucky as the weather is about to change.
Just like the rest of the coastline in this area the cliffs and caves are quite beautiful. They look very different from out of a boat and Antonio did us proud, very choppy weather and he said that there were certain caves and coves that he would not go in to, for safety reasons. On our way round we saw some very small rubber dingies with people in life jackets being taken in and out of the caves. It seems that they were taken by bus from Lagos to a beach area in one of the caves and there popped into these little boats.
WEDNESDAY 29th MARCH.
We took the express bus service from Alvor to Lagos this morning. Lagos is just another town with, we thought, nothing spectacular going for it, except for a very large, shelltered marina. The old streets have partially been restored and they have some quite nice shops, but at this time of the year, not too many customers.
We did find some nice looking street cafes and managed to force down a prawn omellete lunch, sitting in the sun. We were back in Alvor by about 5 p.m. so after dinner watched a DVD before bed. The clouds look a bit ominous for tomorrow.
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